A gamer all his life, Gygax started out like most kids playing strategy games such as chess and the card game pinochle, as well as others. His love for games found a different outlet in the late 1950’s with miniature war games like “Gettysburg.” His fascination grew to the point where gaming for him became an art form and then he found and fell in love with science fiction. Thus was born his lifelong quest to develop some of the best genre-related gaming in the industry.
In 1966, along with partners Bill Speer and Scott Duncan, he founded the IFW ( International Federation of Wargamers), an organization that served as an umbrella for various wargaming clubs around the country. This grew into publishing its own magazine on gaming, one of the first of its kind.
Gygax helped to organize the first Gen CON gaming convention 41 years ago out of his basement. It is now one of the largest CONs in the world hosting events all over the globe. His skills as an organizer and game developer continued to grow until one day in the early 1970’s he and Dave Arneson created a tabletop fantasy role-playing game called “Dungeons and Dragons” (D&D), and the rest, as they say, is history. A variation of one of Gygax’s previous games called “Chainmail” and the sparsing together all that he knew about older war games, D&D became the fastest growing and selling RPG of its time, and it also sparked a ton of controversy from various religious groups in America, making the game even more appealing to its demographic of young, independent-minded gamers.
It is safe to say that E. Gary Gygax literally changed the face of the gaming world with D&D, and at a time when board RPG’s were just finding their place in the computer-generated universe, D&D was the perfect fit and acted as the gaming world’s Magellen and Christopher Columbus — opening up vast new worlds and opportunities for the fast growing gaming industry and their marriage to the virtual world of computing.
Even to this day D&D is still the best-known role-playing game, with well over 30 million people having played the game and more than $1+ billion (USD) in games, books and equipment sales worldwide.